Back in 2014, when Starlord put on the headphones of his Sony Walkman and pranced across to the screen to the Redbone track – kicking away those mini raptor-like creatures, we knew James Gunn had something magical in his hand.
Flash forward to 2017, this time its speakers instead of headphones, the same raptor creatures, and a jiving Baby Groot – and yes, we can see there is magic, once again. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (GoTG Vol 2) is a very good film – perhaps even a fantastic one. However, is it a victim of its own legend? Yes.
In short, Guardians does deliver the goods – but it falls into the same “curse of the MCU sequel” that Avengers, Thor and Iron Man fell into. How does that curse work? Well, the movie is seemingly better, grander, tighter and hits the right notes – yet, it’s just not as good as the first one.
GoTG Vol 2 is a thoroughly fun movie – with its share of stunning visuals, action that is both tight and grand; with humor and humanity in abundance. In fact, the movie is significantly funnier than the previous installment and only in rare moments does it seem forced – which is a ‘Marvel-ous’feat in itself. The Stan Lee cameo is probably one of his most significant so far and Baby Groot – awwwwwwwww.
Take that mix and throw in some strong performances by the core cast and the cameo crew – you have a GoTG2 that is so good andso muchfun. But there are reasons why I include the “so not enough” in the title.
The most fatal flaw of GoTG Vol.2 is the fact that it is completely forgettable in the MCU canon. Vol.1 came with its own rich universe of characters and had a sense of freedom from the overarching MCU storyline. But it decided to take on the responsibility of introducingThanos – the big baddie who we all know is coming in Infinity War.
Vol 2 doesn’t forward that agenda or story at all though. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. While it tries to tie in many things from the Guardians history and current worldsusing cameos and nods – it contributes nothing to the MCU narrative. You could skip GoTG Vol. 2 and go straight to Thor: Rangnarok and you wouldn’t have missed much.
We’ve seen the reverse happen in Avengers Age of Ultron, where it was bogged down its need to tie-up the MCU story. So, one would assume that James Gunn would be careful. However, in Vol2 it seemed that he was trying to make a deliberate attempt not to lead in to Infinity War and it comes eventually across as overcompensation.
The other weak spot was the movie’s villain – and for the sake of spoilers, I will not delve into it much. I will however say that it felt somewhere between a giant cop-out and a predictable sucker-punch.
The movie also overdoes a few things – melodrama being one of them. It tends to push those emotional zingers towards the end a tad bit further (and longer) than it should. That ends up doing disservice to the pace Gunn had built up in the fantastic final act of the movie.
The endless cameos also were a bit much, honestly, apart from teen Groot and the old Guardians, of course!
GoTG Vol. 2 is a great movie, although not as fresh as it’s predecessor. In trying to be bigger, more emotional, and better than its predecessor and by attempting to be self-contained, away from the MCU narrative, it somehow falls short of what made Vol. 1 so fresh.
Will I watch it a second time? Yes, of course.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a 4/5 Groots.
Aniruddho Chakraborty is a brand and marketing professional by day and an award nominated comic book writer/colorist by night. The former pays the monthly bills and sometimes funds cash flows for his comic book label Chariot Comics. Over five years of Chariot Comics’ existence, he has created titles like VRICA and Damned and worked with Luminosity Pictures and Luke Kenny, for the comic book prequel to the movie “Zombie Rising”. He has worked with multiple independent comic book houses as well.